Lebanon Valley College Study Abroad

Spring Break

I spent my spring break adventure with two fellow students, Alisha and Ryan. We left the busy city of Buenos Aires at 8:10pm on March 7 and embarqued on a bus trip that lasted about 13 hours.
Thankfully, I was able to sleep on the ride but it was more like a series of naps than one solid night of sleep. Then, around 6:30am, though I had adamantly decided that I did not wanted to use the bus bathroom, I realized that the needs of my bladder outweighed my disgust of the condition of the toilet. So, as we were on a double-decker bus, I climbed down the short flight of stairs and made my way toward the door that promised relief on the other side. However, when I reached it I had such a problem opening it that I was forced to go ask my traveling companion, Alisha, how to accomplish this seemingly impossible task; to which her response was, “You just have to pull it really hard.”
Armed with my newly acquired knowledge I again made my way down the stairs, more confidently this time, yanked the door open and completed what I had set out to do. Then, as bus bathrooms and porta-potties have the habit of doing, I experienced a few seconds of panic as I could not figure out the correct way to turn the lock and began envisioning myself locked in the tiny germ infested space for the rest of my life… but as I am now writing this blog post one can determine that my imaginings did not come true and I did successfully make my way out of the bathroom.
Once back in my seat and cuddled up with Spoon, the stuffed dog my boyfriend gave me, I settled in for another 2 hour nap. However, apparently the bus driver had other plans for my sleep because at 7:15 after only a few minutes of studying my eyelids, all the lights in the bus came on and everyone was ordered to get off and eat breakfast. While, I would usually jump at the opportunity to be forced to consume food I do not like to do so at such an unreasonable hour of the morning. However, I accepted my fate and after running my head right into the small TV suspended to one side of the bus aisle, which was a result of my groggy state and not the fact that I am clumsy, I ventured into the great outdoors to see what sort of food would provide my stomach with satisfaction.
The place that we stopped to eat was a big pink hostel (which can be seen in my pictures). We went inside and sat on some very uncomfortable wooden chairs and looked down at our plates. There rested two dry medialunas (or croissants) and a mug whose empty interior promised the arrival of some sort of delicious hot liquid. However, I soon discovered that they had apparently run out of even satisfactory drinks and my mug instead provided me with the worst cup of coffee I had ever tasted!
Finally, after losing no one to the nasty breakfast, we gathered what was left of our taste buds, got back on the bus, and settled in for a little more sleep until we reached our destination; Mendoza, Argentina. Once we got to the station we purchased some bus tickets for other legs of our journey and set out to find a taxi to take us to our hostel. However, after observing the long line of humanity waiting to get a cab we decided to cart ourselves and our luggage the twenty blocks to our hostel. So, I got my exercise for the week and was therefore able to justify getting some amazingly swell ice cream later.
When we finally got there and had settled in to our room I walked downstairs and observed something shocking! The hostel’s entryway was filled with other students from the Fundacion (the school I attend). Apparently my fellow comrades had also decided to come to Mendoza and unknowingly booked the same hostel. In all there ended up being around 14 of us there.
As I was worn-out from the long bus ride, and lack of time inspecting my eyelids, I was not up for any great escapades that day. So, we went out to lunch and then I got ice cream and went back to the hostel with the intention to lay out on the roof and get some sun and perhaps a nap. The former was accomplished but the latter did not happen because I made a friend :) His name was Evan and he had taken a semester off to travel around South America and therefore had plenty of stories to regale me with. I also found out that he was a Philosophy major with a minor in English Literature and we spent quite some time talking about the importance of these two educational pursuits.
In the evening, as the hostel was equipped with a full kitchen, we went grocery shopping and made a scrumptious dinner. The rest of the night was really chill as I wanted to get plenty of rest so that I would have energy for the remainder of our trip. I spent the evening hanging out in a hammock, eating some malbec grapes (the best grapes I had ever had), and chatting with mi amigos. All in all it was a great start to what would be a wonderful adventure :)

Longg Weekend

February 12, 2013

So, I have had a five day weekend since I never have school on Friday and the last two days were holidays here in the good old country of Argentina. On Friday I was walking along a street, called Santa Fe, and happened to run into one of my new friends that I go to school with… so, naturally he and I went in search of a good restaurant for lunch. We ended up getting some really swell pizza; it may be of interest to my readers to note that in Argentina they do not really believe in putting more than about a spoonful of sauce on their pizza, but they are not at all shy about the amount of cheese. Saturday I then walked about half an hour to my friend Lyra’s home stay and she showed me around her neighborhood, which is in an area called “Palermo” where there was a small artisan street fair and some expensive touristy shops and restaurants. Unfortunately we made the mistake of stopping at one such restaurant which ended up yielding less than satisfying food. I ordered a mango smoothie and what was placed before me was a cup of water with tons of ice and a splash of mango flavoring. Therefore, solidifying my life decision to never eat at a strictly health food place ever again! However, afterwards, since we were feeling way to healthy after the pile of veggies we consumed, we got some seriously unhealthy ice cream :)
On Sunday Lyra and I once again ventured out together and went to San Talmo, the place where my wallet was taken a few weeks ago. This time, thankfully, instead of losing a wallet I purchased one from one of the local artisan woman. After walking around for 5 hours we parted company and made our way to our separate residences just in time for a big thunderstorm to sweep over the city and force the temperature down to a respectable place on the thermometer. Therefore, since I did not want to walk the half an hour to church in storm which can best be summed up as “raining cats and dogs”, I got to skype with my wonderful boyfriend :)
Monday my family went away to visit my host father’s brother so I had the house all to myself… which was cool for like 2 hours and then I was very bored. However, in the midst of my lingering in self pity over my lack of human contact, I received a facebook message from some fellow students detailing a plan to hang out in the afternoon/evening. I was relieved and practically ran to the park where we were meeting so I could have my first social interaction of the day. That night I got home around 11:45pm after a wonderful evening, which included me cooking; something that I have missed doing since I have been here.
Today, admittedly, has not been anywhere as nearly as exciting as the rest of my weekend. I have been just sitting around studying my Spanish vocab, napping, and eating. I am looking forward to going back to school tomorrow and getting some more homework so I have something to fill up all my free time. lol

Lujan

January 31, 2013
Today I saw blood sausage for the first time and determined that I will never be putting it in my mouth. Never. We took a trip to Lujan to a ranch, but before we got to the ranch we stopped at the Basilica in Lujan and that was pretty spectacular! At the ranch we had some amazing food (sans the blood sausage) and it was really swell to get out of the city and see Argentine country side, which reminded me somewhat of home. There were also some really cute dogs that were quite friendly and playful: one tried to grab the bottom of my dress and rip it. lol I had tons of fun just communing with my new friends and checking out the old buildings on the ranch, including a super cool library that unfortunately we were not allowed to take pictures in. However, thankfully the day was not too hot and I got to eat a lot of food so I am very happy!!

Life Can Only Get Better

January 27, 2013

Well, today was certainly eventful. I went with Jess, one of the other American students, on a little walking trip to see the congress building and go to a craft fair that wandered along for many blocks. Seeing the historical buildings was interesting and we also went into an old Catholic church. The craft fair was also very swell as there were many things to buy from local artisans. Jess and I walked for several blocks and decide to sit down in a corner cafe for a much needed cold drink. Whilst sitting there a man from Australia, who was sitting a table away, exclaimed that his bag had been stolen while he was sitting there. So, I decided to look in my purse an make sure that everything was still there, just so that I would have peace of mind. When I opened it up and peeked in I was dismayed to find that I could not find my wallet, which contained some money and more importantly my credit cards! Upon this unpleasant discovery I, with great haste, went back to my host family’s house and called my mom to get my cards canceled. Thankfully, everything got figured out and life can once again be filled with joy and fun times. And, speaking of fun times I am currently watching Ice Age 3 in Spanish, but thankfully laughter is a universal thing and I have watched it so often in English that I know what is going on :)

Argentina: I have arrived

My beautiful new watch!

My beautiful new watch!

January 20, 2013

Yesterday my trip to the airport was one filled with excitement as I got ready to embark on my first solo airplane ride. Once I got to the airport I (finally) figured out how to check in and then had two hours to waste away exploring the airport, which would have been more enjoyable if I did not have to lug my huge backpack and carry on with me everywhere! I got some food and libations in preparation for my long trip and then decided to buy a watch. I found this small store, called “Swatch”, and I, as my picture shows, got an orange one with some subtle sparkles in the ban (which shall not only match much of my wardrobe but also, as the overly enthusiastic and talkative salesman pointed out, my new backpack),

The plane ride itself was smooth and there was plenty of swell movies  for my viewing pleasure. However, it was not very comfortable to sleep but thankfully there was no one in the seat beside me so I could spread out, and I has Spoon (my trusty stuffed dog) to keep me company. When we landed I was greeted by sweat as the warm temperatures were a huge contrast to the chilly weather I had left a short 11 hours before. Getting through security was not particularly hard and once through customs Rebekah (the other student from LVC) and I were able to easily get a cab. (I thought it was amusing that as we were in the cab, which was a ford, the song that was playing on the radio was “Pumped Up Kicks”.) I arrived at my host family’s house and was greeted with the warmth of a hug and kiss from the family members. They are all very helpful and forgiving as I struggle with my meager amount of Spanish knowledge and they, varying in their comprehension of English, attempt to respond. However, I am sure that I shall learn much whilst I am here and hopefully know how to hold at least a base level conversation :)